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Bowl Season Preview and Betting Guide
Bowl season is upon us and no other 2 weeks in the year offer the pure joy and nonstop opportunities that these do. 39 games spread out from December 15th through January 1st, with the Championship being played on Monday January 7th, 2019. Navigating the sheer enormity of betting choices of bowl games is one of the most challenging tasks any handicapper can attempt. There are coaching changes, players sitting out for the draft, motivation questions, and regional bias that will all play a part in determining who wins each game. Bowl season is truly a monumental task for any handicapper, but luckily for you our team of experts from all over the US dove deep into every game, every matchup, and have delivered the most complete betting guide the internet has ever seen.
Our experts are so confident on 10 games this bowl season that we are offering an 70% guarantee on purchased picks. That means that if we don’t win 70% of our TOP TEN games you get your money back. Simply Venmo $50 to @MaxActionSports to receive our TOP TEN picks, and always remember; If you don’t bet, you can win!
Without further ado, welcome to the MaxActionSports 2019 Bowl Season Preview
New Mexico Bowl – North Texas (9-3) vs Utah State (10-2)
Utah St enters with only 2 losses, one to perennial power Boise St and the other to Michigan State. Utah St is a remarkable 9-3 ATS this season and will have a sizable speed and strength advantage against a North Texas team that finished just 5-3 in C-USA.
Pick - Utah St -8 , Kickoff Line -7 - WIN
Autocare Cure Bowl - Tulane (6-6) vs Louisiana – LaFayette (7-6)
The Ragin Cajuns are 9-3 ATS this season. Tulane has beaten the spread only 2 times. Lafayette has played and lost to top tens all season, including Alabama and Mississippi St and App St twice. In a game where neither team has shown much all year, we will take the team that has beaten Vegas all year and faced the much tougher schedule.
Pick - Louisiana – Lafayette +3.5, Kickoff Line +3 - LOSS
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl: #21 Fresno State (11-2) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
Fresno comes into this game off a huge win at Boise State to win the Mountain West. They are 9-3 ATS this year, but Arizona State has won 4 of their last 5 for 1st year coach Herm Edwards. He is a master motivator, and will no doubt have his team ready to play. Likewise, Fresno State and Coach Jeff Tedford who is 6-3 in bowl games, always comes ready to play and will not be intimidated by playing a school from a Power 5 conference.
Pick – Arizona St +4. Kickoff Line +6 - LOSS
Raycom Media Camellia: Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs. Georgia Southern (9-3)
EMU has won 5 of their last 6 games. Their sole lost in that period coming to a 10 win Army team. Georgia Southern is 9-3 ATS but lacks any wins against quality opponents.
Pick – EMU +1 , Kickoff Line - +3 - WIN
R+L Carriers New Orleans: Middle Tennessee (8-5) vs. Appalachian (10-2)
App St has been a household name since beating Michigan back in 2007. They dominated the Sun Belt amassing a 7-1 conference record and have won 5 straight. The Blue Raiders split the season series with UAB and hung tough against SEC rival Kentucky. App St is 3-0 in bowl games since joining the FBS.
Pick – App St -7, WIN
Cheribundi Boca Raton: UAB (10-3) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5)
Conference USA Champ UAB battles MAC Champ NIU in this year’s edition of the famed Boca Raton Bowl. UAB is 9-4 ATS, but NIU has the type of defense that can stifle even the most prolific offenses. This might be the toughest game to handicap in bowl season. Look for a tight game to the end where a turnover will be the difference. In a game this tight always take the points.
Pick – Norther Illinois +2.5 - LOSS
DXL Frisco: Ohio (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5)
Frank Solich teams always show up and always play hard, but his bowl record is a paltry 5-9. San Diego St lost a close game to Army in last year’s Armed Forces Bowl. The Aztecs have lost 3 straight and it seems like a distant memory when they beat Arizona State and Boise State earlier this year. Adding to their poor play lately they are just 3-8 ATS.
Pick – Ohio -3 - WIN
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla: Marshall (8-4) vs. South Florida (7-5)
USF is only in this or any bowl game because they play one of the worst schedules the FBS has ever seen. Wins against Elon, Stony Brook, and UMASS qualified this team for Bowl Season, but it won’t help much against a Marshall team that has won 4 of the final 6 games.
Pick – Marshall -2.5 - WIN
Makers Wanted Bahamas: Florida International (8-4) vs. Toledo (7-5)
FIU is 6-2 over their final 8 games. They are also 9-3 ATS and Butch Davis is 5-3 in bowl games. Toledo struggled against the good teams in the MAC, losing to Buffalo, NIU, and EMU. In a game being played in the Bahamas you can expect the unexpected, there will be points, there will be blown coverages, and Toledo has been exposed more than once this season. Take the points and take the Panthers.
Pick – FIU +5.5 Kickoff line +7 - WIN
Famous Idaho Potato: BYU (6-6) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)
Kalani Sitake and the Cougars should dismantle Western Michigan who barely eked out a 7-5 in the MAC. BYU has wins over Wisconsin and Arizona, while losing close games to Pac 12 Champ Utah and MAC Champ NIU. Laying 12 points is a lot and normally bowl games between bad teams are closer than the experts think, but in a virtual home game for BYU a two-touchdown win is not out of the question.
Pick – BYU -12 - WIN
Jared Birmingham: Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Memphis (8-5)
This game comes down to motivation. Memphis played their hearts out in the American Championship against UCF. With UCF’s star QB Milton out, The Tigers thought this was their year, but a miracle comeback by UCF ruined their dreams. Wake on the other hand comes in off an impressive 59-7 beatdown of bowl bound Duke. The Demon Deacons were clearly playing to make it to this game so don’t expect them to lay down now that they’ve got here.
Pick – Wake Forest +5 - Kickoff Line +4 - WIN
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces: Houston (8-4) vs. Army (10-2)
The Black Knights of the Hudson are fresh off their 3rd consecutive win against Navy. Army won this game last year against a tough San Diego State team. Houston went 1-3 to finish the year and hasn’t won a bowl game in 2 years.
Pick – Army -3 - WIN
Dollar General: Buffalo (10-3) vs. Troy
Buffalo comes into this game off a terrible loss in the MAC Championship game to NIU. They had their eyes on a bigger prize than the Dollar General Bowl, but here they are. Troy has a virtually home game and is 7-3-2 ATS this season. The Trojans have won their last 3 bowl games by a combined score of 126 to 77.
Pick – Troy +2.5 - Kickoff Line +1.5 - WIN
Hawaii: Louisiana Tech (7-5) vs. Hawaii (8-5)
Hawaii started this year as hot as any team in the nation with dominate wins over Colorado State, Navy, and Wyoming. They struggled to end the year and have lost 3 of the last 4 Hawaii Bowls. LATech beat absolutely no one this year. They are .500 ATS and have shown no life late. Travelling 4,000 miles might just too much for this lack luster team.
Pick – Hawaii PK- Kickoff Line +3 - LOSS
SERVPRO First Responder: Boston College (7-5) vs. #25 Boise State (10-3)
Boise State was legitimately thinking about a New Years Six game before their stunning loss to Fresno State at home on the blue turf. B.C did nothing all year make anyone think they are within two touchdowns of Boise. The Broncos giving only 3 is the steal of steals, take them early, take them often, and take your bookies money.
Pick – Boise State -3 - Cancelled
Quick Lane: Minnesota (6-6) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)
In 2019’s first matchup of Power 5 conference teams trash Minnesota takes on lifeless Georgia Tech. Neither team did anything against anyone of merit. Minnesota’s best win a truly disappointing Wisconsin team. Georgia Tech’s best win is against equally disappointing Miami. When two terrible teams meet we have to look for outside factors. This game is being played in Minnesota and Georgia Tech is giving 4 points. On top of all that Paul Johnson is retiring and while that usually means his team will be playing for their head coach, here it might just be opposite. These players know their days of running the triple option are numbered so many might be looking to transfer.
Pick – Minnesota +4 - Kickoff Line +5.5 - WIN
Cheez-It: TCU (6-6) vs. California (7-5)
TCU flat out stinks. They were non-competitive all year and even lost to Kansas, Gary Patterson should be ashamed. Cal might not be much better but at least they showed up against both Washington and Washington State.
Pick – Cal PK - Kickoff Line -1 - LOSS
Walk-On’s Independence: Temple (8-4) vs. Duke (7-5)
Temple Head Coach Geoff Collins leaves for Georgia Tech at season’s end. The Owls were 8-4 ATS and an impressive 5-1 ATS on the road. The beat a talented Cincinnati team and hung tough with world beaters UCF. Duke had a plain bad year and finished with a no-show performance against Wake Forest. Expect Temple to play for their outgoing coach and for the jobs as this is an early audition for next season.
Pick – Temple -3 - LOSS
New Era Pinstripe: Miami (7-5) vs. Wisconsin (7-5)
In a battle of two teams that should just call it off and tour New York City for a week instead, this year’s Pinstripe bowl is an uninteresting as a Yankee game in early May. We are all way from the Orange Bowl where Wisconsin bested Miami last year. Paul Chryst is unbeaten in bowl games and the Badgers have won 4 in a row. Miami has only 1 bowl win since 2008 and is 3-9 ATS this season, combine that with cold weather and the Hurricanes probably won’t even get off the bus.
Pick – Wisconsin +4 - WIN
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas: Baylor (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)
These early bowl games between Power 5 teams can be very repetitive. Vandy is 8-4 ATS and has won 3 of their final 4. They are clearing playing for Head Coach Derrick Mason and have shown toughness when they lost to CFP bound Notre Dame by only 5 points early this year. Baylor finished they year losing 2 of 3. Their final game was an impressive road win over Texas Tech who was playing for their own bowl lives. They game is being played in Texas where Baylor should enjoy a sizable fan advantage. In a close game we expect Baylor to keep it close so take the points, but don’t be shocked it if is a FG or less game.
Pick – Baylor +3.5 - WIN
Franklin American Mortgage Music City: Auburn (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Purdue is led by All American Rondale Moore, he caught over 100 passes and accounted for 12 TDs. The Boilermakers had signature wins over Ohio State and Iowa, but they were both at home. Auburn finished the year getting spanked by Alabama but had a solid win over number 9 Washington early in the year. They are a terrible 1-3 ATS and have lost 3 straight bowl games against Power 5 conference teams. Gus Malzahn is rumored to be on the hot seat, but with the NFL talent on the roster don’t expect the Tigers to play for their embattled coach.
Pick – Purdue +3.5 - LOSS
Camping World: #16 West Virginia (8-3) vs. #20 Syracuse (9-3)
With Will Grier opting to sit out the prestigious Camping World Bowl the Mountaineers will have to resort to Sophomore Jack Allison who hasn’t played a meaningful snap since High School to match the powerful Orange offense. Syracuse and standout QB Eric Dungey will be looking to prove that, that Notre Dame loss was due to injury and not being overmatched. In what should be an entertaining game from start to finish the OVER at 68.5 seems to be well within reach.
Pick – OVER 68.5 - LOSS and Syracuse +1.5 - WIN
Valero Alamo: #24 Iowa State (8-4) vs. #13 Washington State (10-2)
Iowa St is a Max Action favorite when playing at home. They compiled a 3-4 record ATS at home, but had a signature win against West Virginia. The Cougars led by Coach Mike Leach went 10-2 ATS including a perfect 5-0 on the road. In what should be a home crowd for the Cyclones Washington St will not have trouble dealing with the hostile atmosphere. Yes they are disappointed not to be playing in a New Years Day game and Coach Leach is a terrible 1-4 in his last 4 bowl games. Washington St is the better team, but Iowa State and Matt Campbell have more to play for as his name is on the short list for a number of jobs.
Pick – Iowa State +3.5 - Kickoff Line +2.5 - WIN and OVER 54.5 Kickoff Line 55.5 - LOSS
Chick-fil-A Peach: #10 Florida (9-3) vs. #7 Michigan (10-2)
Michigan has a horrible record in bowl games following a loss to Ohio State when playing for more than pride. Since the 2007 blowout in the Rose Bowl to USC the Wolverines are just 3-6 in bowl games and just 1-2 under Harbaugh. Shea Patterson is playing to cement his job next year, but there are rumors Harbaugh might insert McCaffrey and or Joe Milton to get an early look ahead of spring training. Florida is 8-4 ATS and a perfect 4-0 on the road. Their best win was home against LSU, but the Gator defense failed to show up against Georgia, Kentucky, and Mizzu. Expect Michigan to blow them out IF they are motivated. But since motivation questions rightfully plague this once proud program and Head Coach we are taking the points.
Pick – Florida +7.5 - Kickoff Line +5.5 - WIN
Belk: South Carolina (7-5) vs. Virginia (7-5)
Virginia was able to compile 7 wins despite Duke being their best win. They went 8-4 ATS this season under Bronco Mendenhall who is 6-6 lifetime in bowl games. South Carolina did not beat a single ranked team and went 4-1 ATS on the road. Will Muschamp has been a plain disappointment in his second SEC head coaching job and his days might be quickly coming to an end. He like Mendenhall is the proud owner of a .500 career bowl record.
Pick – UNDER 54.5 - WIN and South Carolina +4 - LOSS
NOVA Home Loans Arizona: Arkansas State (8-4) vs. Nevada (7-5)
Nevada’s 4 game win streak was snapped on the road to a bad UNLV team, but Vegas is always a tough place to play at the end of a long year. The Wolfpack own a bowl record of just 5-10and went 2-4 ATS on the road this year. Arkansas St has won 4 in a row and scored over 30 in each of their last 7 games. There only opponent in common is UNLV who Arkansas St beat in week 4.
Pick – Arkansas State -1.5 - Kickoff Line +1 - LOSS
Semifinal: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: #2 Clemson (13-0) vs. #3 Notre Dame (12-0)
Clemson is an 11 point favorite and rightfully so. Led by Freshman QB Trevor Lawerence and All American Running back Travis Etienne the Tigers went unbeaten in dominating fashion. Dabo Sweeney has done a masterful job recruiting and has filled this team with first rounders on both sides of the ball. Brian Kelly looks to prove his undefeated Irish team deserves to be grouped with the big boys. Led by Quarterback Ian Book the Irish offense is dynamic and imaginative. The Clemson defense will be put to the test, but their overall size and speed advantage will prove to be too much for the Irish players to handle. Expect a close game for a while then Clemson starts to pull away in the 4th quarter.
Pick – Clemson -11 - WIN
Semifinal: Capital One Orange: #1 Alabama (13-0) vs. #4 Oklahoma (12-1)
What is there to say about Alabama that hasn’t been said over the years. They are bigger, faster, better coached, more talented, and plain superior than every other in the FBS. That being said they might even be better this season now that they have a legitimate quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. Now Oklahoma will score points, their offense is simply too dynamic to be shutdown for an entire game, but don’t expect them to score 50 on this Bama defense. Murray will get his yards, but Bama will make him work for them, especially on the ground. The sooners are just 1-3-1 ATS when playing against the crowd while Bama is 4-1. 14 is a lot of points to give and probably too many, but you don’t make a living betting against Alabama.
Pick – Alabama -14 - LOSS and UNDER 81 - Kickoff Line - 80.5 - WIN
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (10-2)
Virginia Tech decimated Marshall 41-20 to make this game so don’t expect them to not show up now that their here. Cincinnati played and beat no one. They were no competitive against UCF in what was supposed to be a conference show down.
Pick – Virginia Tech +5 - WIN
Hyundai Sun: Stanford (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (7-6)
Pitt played consistently better as the year progressed, until they finished with a blowout lost to Miami. Stanford was 4-1 ATS on the road. In a battle of two teams that should have been better and never quite put it totally together we lean towards the one getting almost a touchdown.
Pick – Pitt +6.5 - Kickoff Line +4.5 - WIN
Redbox: Michigan State (7-5) vs. Oregon (8-4)
Justin Herbert is going to look to put on a show for the NFL scouts in this game. He threw for nearly 3000 yards with 28 Tds to just 8 ints. At 6’6’ he is every scouts dream so look for a lot of deep throws testing this tough MSU defense that surrendered 30 points just once this season in their opening week game against Utah State.
Pick – UNDER 47.5 - WIN and Oregon -3 - LOSS
AutoZone Liberty: #23 Missouri (8-4) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)
The Cowboys stop absolutely no one and Mizzu can put up points. They scored over 40 in 6 games this year. The number is set at 74 and that isn’t even close to realistic. These two teams will score into the hundreds and that is a guarantee you can take to the bank. Mike Grundy is 8-4 in bowl games lifetime.
Pick – OVER 74.5 - Kickoff Line 72 - LOSS and Oklahoma State +8 - WIN
S.D. County Credit Union Holiday: #22 Northwestern (8-5) vs. #17 Utah (9-4)
No team in the country plays harder than Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats. They were in every game except the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State. Utah is the Pac 12’s version of Northwestern. They are a gutty, well coached team that will fight you to the end. Fitzgerald has won 2 of his last 3 bowl games while Kyle Whittingham is 11-1 in bowl games. 7 points is a lot to give a talented Northwestern team led by veteran quarterback Clayton Thorson who will keep this game close.
Pick – Northwestern +7 - Kickoff Line +6.5 - WIN
TaxSlayer Gator: NC State (9-3) vs. #19 Texas A&M (8-4)
Jimbo Fischer did not have the season he or the college football world was expecting in 2018. The Aggies managed just one win against a ranked opponent. With Mike Elko most likely headed to Temple the strength of this A&M team is suddenly thrown adrift. NC State was virtually no competitive against Clemson and gave up 51 to Syracuse. The 9 wins they amassed are as meaningless as can be combine that with an 8-4 ATS by A&M and 5 points just doesn’t seem like enough to keep the Wolfpack in it.
Pick – Texas A&M -5 - WIN
Outback: #18 Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Iowa (8-4)
Iowa bounced around this season between respectability and disappointment. They had lost 5 bowl games in a row before beating BC in the Pinstripe bowl last season. Miss St went 8-4 ATS with wins over Auburn and Texas A&M. The Big Ten always has trouble in this game and Florida in general, Iowa does travel well, but the Bulldogs will prove to be too much for the Hawkeyes.
Pick – Miss St -6.5 - LOSS and OVER 44 - Kickoff Line 38.5 - WIN
VRBO Citrus: #14 Kentucky (9-3) vs. #12 Penn State (9-3)
Trace Mcsorely has had to do it all himself this season and most of the time he was enough. But he couldn’t beat the good teams on the schedule no matter how much magic he used. Luckily for the Nittany Lions Kentucky absolutely stinks. They benefitted from the weakest SEC East we’ve seen in decades. James Franklin is just 2-2 in bowl games at PSU.
Pick - Penn State - 6 - Kickoff Line -5 - LOSS
PlayStation Fiesta: #11 LSU (9-3) vs. #8 UCF (12-0)
In what would have been one of the most interesting matchups of the bowl season had Milton not gotten hurt against Memphis, UCF tries to prove once again that they can hang with the SEC elite. Last year they beat Auburn, this year they look to beat the vaunted LSU defense. This game is a classic case of great defense against great offense, expect for one thing, UCF doesn’t have their quarterback. UCF will still score, but not enough to bury the Tigers, who will no doubt be ready, unlike Auburn last year.
Pick – LSU -6.5 - LOSS and OVER 55.5 - WIN
Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual: #9 Washington (10-3) vs. #6 Ohio State (12-1)
PAC 12 Champs Washington face off against Big Ten Champs Ohio State. The Rose Bowl couldn’t be happier with the matchup they got. Ohio State is no doubt disappointed about being left out of the CFP, but this being Urban Meyer’s last game might just cancel out that lack of motivation. Washington is fast, and tough, but man to man they simply don’t have the athletes that the Buckeyes do. Urban Meyer is 11-3 in bowl games and used to playing on the biggest of stages, this will be a fitting send off for a coach who is unarguably one of the greatest of all time.
Pick – Ohio State -6.5 - Kickoff Line -4.5 - WIN
Allstate Sugar: #15 Texas (9-4) vs. #5 Georgia (11-2)
Expect Georgia and Kirby Smart to be salty from not being chosen for the CFP. They truly feel they are one of the 4 best teams in the country, but they had their chance to beat Bama and they got conservative and blew it, again. Texas fought Oklahoma to the end and lost a close game in the Big 12 Championship. Texas getting 11.5 is crazy for a team that is motivated and building on an unexpected good year. Look for Sam Ehlinger to cement his status as a 2019 Heisman candidate in the Sugar Bowl.
Pick – Texas +11.5 - WIN